Recession hits video gamers: playing more, spending less
A while back, we said that video games were a recession-proof business. But in the last few months, the sales of new video games have flattened.
People say the recession is catching up to the game industry. But according to a new Nielsen study, gamers are actually playing more than ever.
The problem? Gamers are starting to wisen up. We are substituting the purchase of new titles with used ones and subscribing to game rental services instead.
Nielsen research on 24,000 gamers who spend at least an hour a week on their home consoles and PCs playing games revealed interesting data. More than half of those surveyed say that they have been negatively affected by the global recession, but 42% of gamers between the ages of 7-54 showed that they are playing, or planning to play, more games than ever in these tough times. 41% say that they will play the same amount as last year. This composed mostly of 35+ adults who maturely stated, "I am choosing this kind of entertainment less this year".
The industry has been relatively less impacted by the recession when compared to others. DVD purchases in January remained unchanged, and movies seen in the last 2 months was down 3%. But the total games purchased by consumers on average increased by 18%, while hours of gameplay per week has gone up by 13%. 35% of those surveyed are spending, or planning to spend, more on buying games this year, while 39% said they will spend the same.
Spending more time glued to our Wiis and PS3s should be good news for gaming companies, but they are finding that money-conscious gamers are shifting away from the purchase of new games. According to The NPD Group, new game sales are lower this year than 2008. Instead, used games are at an all time high for sales in 2009 compared to data from as far back as 2006.
Another reason why new game sales could be down in 2009 is that there were many more blockbuster hits in 2008 than 2009. But blockbusters don't necessarily make better games. As an interesting side note, 34% of those who said they are playing more games this year than the main reason is 'liking the games more this year'.
What about you? Are you spending more or less time playing video games, or have moved on to twittering and free entertainment mediums instead? If you are still gaming, are you spending more on purchase of used games or subscribing to rental services? Are there any tricks that you have that can help cut down on spending with video games? Let's hear them!